Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sharon Astyk's new book Depletion and Abundance

I'm hopping over to my favourite local book store after work to order Sharon Astyk's new book, Depletion and Abundance. I've referenced her a few times in my blog and have referred many friends to her own incredibly informative blog, Casaubon's Book. Astyk is a farmer in upstate New York who writes (prolifically) about sustainability and Peak Oil. There's a short and sweet review of her book over at The Blogging Bookworm, where the reviewer asserts that Astyk's focus is on how it's ordinary individuals who must lead the way -- not government -- and that this is especially applicable now in the face of the global economic turmoil that's just started to brew, and with Peak Oil still a reality, regardless of the recent nosedive in the price of crude.

The review also reaffirms what I've sussed out about Astyk from reading her blog. She's a lot like Heinberg in the sense that there are no rose-coloured glasses in her world. While some may find a lot of what she and Heinberg have to say
depressing, the truth is that both of them use their unapologetic assessments of the state of the world as springboards. Where a lot of Peak Oil writing seems to just dwell on the gloom, Astyk voices the "So what can I do?" with which a lot of people are left after learning about fossil-fuel depletion, and she provides solutions -- on all levels, however seemingly slight each proposed action may be. It's hard to read her writing and walk away from it feeling lost. In an age of so much uncertainty, it's reassuring.

Last month, The Energy Bulletin also had
a review of Depletion and Abundance. The reviewer describes Astyk as providing a much-needed women's voice in the Peak Oil movement and states that she provides this "by reclaiming th[e] traditional sphere of women's work from a feminist perspective". The book is said to dismiss the myths we hold, within the context of our high tech and high energy world, of how our lives should be lived. Astyk goes to the root of things, expressing that we need to revisit a simpler way of doing things -- living more frugally and becoming more responsible citizens. She suggests that change can indeed be started with as simple an action as starting your own garden.

I'm looking forward to reading it and intend to post my own take on it after I do so, regardless of being a bit slow on the draw.


jessy said...

hoooray! i'm so glad Sharon's book is finally out. i read her blog every now and again and i love it - even though it scares the sh*t out of me (which is a good thing, i guess!) :)

M said...

I love the fact that she presents all kinds of small practical steps, while providing a wider overview. It's really comprehensive (and impressive!) in that way. She wows me.